News in Brief

Concerns About Big Data Abuses Grow

Sep 18, 2014 |

The tension between the rise of big data and concerns over privacy and fairness continues to mount as federal regulators convened this week to ponder whether big data is a “tool for inclusion or exclusion.” That was the title of a Sept. 15 Federal Trade Commission workshop examining the impact of big data on U.S. consumers, particularly the poor and underserved. “A growing number of companies are increasingly using big data analytics techniques to categorize consumers and make predictions about Read more…

IBM Moves to Make Watson Accessible to the Masses

Sep 17, 2014 |

IBM is promising data crunching for the masses with its Watson Analytics natural-language cognitive service. The big data leader said Sept. 16 the extended release of the cloud-based analytics service promises to broaden access to predictive and visual analytic tools. The free version 1 release will run on desktops as well as mobile device, IBM said. The self-service analytics package includes data refinement and warehousing services that would allow users to move beyond simple spreadsheets to analyze and visualize data. Read more…

Food For Thought: Startup Targets Nutritional Data

Sep 16, 2014 |

A U.K. data startup that has developed a semantic platform targeting nutrition and health applications said it has added more than 500,000 U.S. products to its dataset in hopes of promoting new applications for everything from nutritional information to exercise devices to restaurant menus. London-based Klappo said earlier this month that the expansion of its dataset includes 525,000 U.S. product barcodes containing ingredient information about the nutritional value of U.S. food products. It said about 100,000 cover new food ingredients Read more…

Data Execs Thinking Big, Worried about Securty, Skills

Sep 15, 2014 |

Another industry survey has concluded that big data is helping global companies identify new revenue sources while developing new products and services. But a majority of executives responding to a survey by consulting firm Accenture Analytics also said they remain concerned about data security and a growing lack of data analytics talent. New York-based Accenture said its study was based on a survey of C-level information, data, analytics, operations and financial officers from 19 countries and seven industries. “They’re recognizing Read more…

LA Data: Cities Ponder Responsible Use of Big Data

Sep 12, 2014 |

Given its traffic, sprawl and glitz, Los Angeles has to be one of the great data-generating cities on Earth. In response, Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed the City of Angels’ first “chief data officer” tasked with overseeing its new open data portal. Ex-Google strategist Abhi Nemani, the city’s new data czar, will work with municipal agencies to collect and analyze data ranging from crime to building inspections to air quality. Nemani assumed his new post on Sept. 2 and works Read more…

Data Tools Help Researchers Tackle Pediatric Cancer

Sep 10, 2014 |

A genomic data analysis platform being installed at the National Cancer Institute will deliver rapid analysis of billions of data points required when sequencing human DNA and other genomic data. Translational Genomics Research (TGen) said Sept. 10 it is providing the National Cancer Institute with high performance computing and bioinformatics support along with specialized tools designed to support pediatric cancer research programs. Those efforts include personalized medicine trial for pediatric cancer patients being conducted by the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Read more…

MapR Reports Accelerated OpenTSDB Performance

Sep 9, 2014 |

Eyeing new Internet of Things (IoT) applications, MapR Technologies said its open-source distribution of Apache Hadoop “ingested” more than 100 million data points per second. The performance benchmark for the MapR distribution with its in-Hadoop NoSQL database, MapR-DB, was achieved using only four nodes of a ten-node cluster. By accelerating its OpenTSDB software by a factor of 1,000 on a small cluster, MapR claimed the performance clears the way for managing huge amounts of data along with IoT and other Read more…

Survey: Big Data Deployments Reaching ‘Tipping Point’

Sep 8, 2014 |

Most big data deployments are still being evaluated but may be approaching a “tipping point” as they move toward production, according to big data market researcher Wikibon. Wikibon analysts stressed that much of its recent survey data represents the sentiments of early adopters of big data analytics, adding that analytics technologies are still “relatively immature.” Another Wikibon survey last year concluded that nearly half of big data practitioners had yet to realize a return on their data analytics investment. Despite Read more…

Insurer Embraces Data Analytics to Shape Benefits Coverage

Sep 5, 2014 |

The U.S. insurance industry is attempting to move beyond actuarial tables to leverage data analytics in helping insurance brokers and employers tailor benefit plans for those workers still covered under employer benefit plans. Sun Life Financial Inc. said this week it has launched a benefits planning tool that uses data analytics to customized employee benefits plans. The “Benefit Profile” uses employer demographics and industry benchmark data to aide brokers in designing benefit plans and “enrollment strategies” for employers. Data analysis Read more…

Stinger Initiative Prepares for .next Phase

Sep 4, 2014 |

The Hadoop developer community that recently delivered the final tweaks to the Stinger Initiative, an effort to bring SQL capabilities to Apache Hive, said its Stinger.next effort would focus on further enhancements to SQL for supporting real-time access in Hive along with support for transactional capabilities. In a blog post, Hortonworks developers Alan Gates and Raj Bains reported that 145 developers from 44 companies have contributed 390,000 lines of code over the last 13 months to the Stinger Initiative. They Read more…